During the first round of Thursday's Major League Baseball first player draft, the Toronto Blue Jays drafted right-handed pitcher Jeff Hoffman from East Carolina and just nine picks later the Washington Nationals selected Erick Fedde, a right-handed pitcher from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Both pitchers who recently had Tommy John surgery.
Hoffman was originally considered to be the number one overall pick before he had the surgery last month. Fedde underwent the same procedure to have his torn ulnar collateral ligaments repaired this past Tuesday.
It is usually pretty rare for young pitchers to have Tommy John surgery, but that has not exactly been the case throughout this 2014 season, as a total of 21 major league pitchers have had Tommy John surgery. That is the second-highest total ever for a full season. Some of the more notable players to undergo Tommy John surgery are Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, who was off to a stellar start to the season before suffering the injury earlier last month. Both Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy of the Atlanta Braves, Patrick Corbin of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Moore, not to mention Washington Nationals former first overall pick Stephen Strasburg also had Tommy John surgery back in 2011.
Along with the 21 major league pitchers to undergo Tommy John surgery, there was nearly 30 more major and minor league players that had the same procedure so far this season. Major League Baseball is currently focusing on exactly why there have been so many Tommy John injuries throughout the past few years.
It appears that Tommy John research is at the top of Major League Baseball's list. There seems to be several factors as studies suggest that big league pitchers with lower degrees of torsion in the humerus, which is the bone that connects the shoulder to the elbow, are at a greater risk of injury. Also it was found that pitchers who cannot rotate their throwing shoulder as much as their non-dominant shoulder by a significant amount are also more likely to suffer elbow injuries.
Major League Baseball will continue their research and hopefully find the answers to this latest Tommy John trend that seemingly appears to be taking away some of the most dynamic and more popular big league pitchers in the game today. It is uncertain what the future will hold for Major League Baseball if these injuries continue to occur at such a rapid rate.
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